Directed by: Brandon Gotto
Written by: Brandon Gotto
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The Darkest Sorrows
If nothing else, The Darkest Sorrows is one really moody film. A feeling of dread just spills out of this title, and that feeling alone definitely helps move this story along. But even the excellent use of atmospheric dread created by the Brandon Gotto, the film still feels a little long in the tooth. Not by the length of the film itself, rather the slower pacing. But the slower pacing is also what helps give this title that marvelous feeling that something bad is coming - it's a catch 22 if ever there was one.
The Darkest Sorrows begins during the aftermath of an accident that leaves Iris' mother dead and then we're swept away to the family cottage. Iris and her father need time away to grieve, to hopefully heal. But Iris doesn't grieve in the same way as her father, who very quickly becomes abusive. He blames Iris for the death of his wife, and as this title inches toward what you know is coming, it's about halfway through when the first physical blow is issued. And because of the atmosphere generated, it's almost a relief. Not because of the dreadful action itself, rather because you no longer have to expect it every moment. Again, it all comes down to presentation and this film has that in spades.
This is a film that feels so somber, it's almost gothic. Long, drawn out shots, and a high contrast ratio really do create that all encompassing atmosphere. The characters of Iris and Daniel are handled excellently by Margaux Colarusso and Raytan R. K. Rawling. For a film that essentially features only these two actors, they hold up excellently and bring life to these characters. I should also mention the scoring contained within this title, excellent without question.
What this title does really well is to portray a realistic family dynamic. There's no sugar coating here, and clearly nobody in this movie is perfect. I did find myself wondering if the Daniel character was abusive long before this film takes place. It sure seems that way most of the time, but that's not the point. It's the gritty realism of these personalities that makes this film all the scarier. No Leave It To Beaver families here. Only the real deal.
For more than a couple of reasons, this title also reminded me of The Shining. I won't go into many details why, because I want to keep this review as spoiler free as possible, but there are a lot of parallels that could be drawn. Of that I'm certain.
This is a film that revels in its atmosphere, it's characters, and it's gritty nature. The Darkest Sorrows covers a lot of ground. Guilt, blame, sorrow, and even madness as it creeps its way along your player. Slow burn? Yes, but well worth the time. I more than appreciated this dark drama flirting with being labelled an actual horror film - and I think most viewers will agree. This won't be for everyone, but for those patient enough to appreciate a good, dark, story... there's a lot here to appreciate.